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Earth Day is always a great time to take a look at little ways we can be more conscious of our actions and our consumer choices as they relate to the health of our environment. It can act as a New Year’s resolution of sorts. We like to make it easy for people to make good consumer choices when they shop with us, but we thought it might be appropriate to offer a few suggestions that might be helpful for the rest of you who don’t live nearby.

Buy Locally whenever you can. Not only does it support your local economy, items that travel to you from down the street use far fewer resources like fossil fuels than those items traveling to you from places like China.

Try to refrain from using chemicals and pesticides in your yards and when you clean your house. Pets and children can be especially vulnerable to the health affects of exposure to these chemicals, and they can have a detrimental affect on the other wildlife in your yard, as well as leaching into our drinking water. Check out beneficial insects as good ways to fight pests in your yard. Beneficial Nematodes are an especially great way to fight fleas on your property!

Natural cleaners work very well and keep pollutants out of our homes. Check out Seventh Generation website for tons of useful information about the benefits of natural home cleaners to us and to our environment. Remember, your pets are in closer contact with your grass and your floors than you are, and they will ingest chemicals that they groom off of their coats and feet. Chemical cleaners can also irritate their eyes, ears, throats and skin, can have negative affects on their central nervous system, and could contribute to certain cancers.

Switch from clay cat litter to a more sustainable material like corn, cassava, wheat, or pine. Clay cat litter must be mined from the earth creating habitat loss (did you know that 1.5 million tons of clay is strip-mined every year to make cat litter?) Once used, clay litter must be landfilled (one source says it’s about 50,000 lbs a week in the U.S.). Did you know that more clay litter is put into landfills than dirty diapers? Litters made from corn, etc are easy to use, they clump well and can be composted or flushed in some parts of the country. In Portland, they beg us to tell our customers not to ever flush any “flushable Litter” as our system is too old to handle it. Cat feces should never be composted or flushed as it can contaminate our water supply and rivers. In many states like California, they are discouraging flushing cat feces because sea otters are showing high levels of toxoplasmosis which is carried in cat feces.

Choose products with less packaging when you have the choice. Let companies know that you aren’t choosing their products because of their wasteful packaging. Recycling what you can is good, but buying products which create less waste to begin with is even better. We see quite a few unnecessarily wasteful products out there for pets, like disposable plastic food bowl liners. Just say no to needless landfill!

Check out other green tips on this blog – I try to post simple tips that all of us can use to make our daily lives have a little less impact on our environment. Thanks for reading!

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